Dutch triumph in ‘Kitz’

Robin Haase celebrated his first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour title at the weekend.

It took the 24-year-old Dutchman exactly two hours to beat Spaniard Albert Montanes in three sets (6-4, 4-6, 6-1) in the final of the 450,000-US dollar tournament in Kitzbühel, Tyrol, on Saturday. Haase defeated Brazilian Joao Souza in the semi final. Montanes entered the final after having beaten Juan Ignacio Chela from Argentina, the event’s number-one seeded player.

All Austrians competing in Kitzbühel last week – including Dominic Thiem, Thomas Muster and Andreas Haider-Maurer – crashed out of the tournament at early stages. The tournament did not take place in the past three years due to paltry interest by potential investors to act as sponsors. Former Austrian Davis Cup team member Alexander Antonitsch organised this year’s edition.

Antonitsch revealed he offered Jürgen Melzer, the Alpine country’s number one in world tennis today, “a lot of money” to compete in “Kitz.” Antonitsch claimed it would have been “unthinkable” for Muster, late Austrian tennis star Horst Skoff and himself not to compete in Kitzbühel in the old days.

Melzer opted to play some hard court tournaments in the United States instead of vying for the trophy in Kitzbühel. The 2010 Wimbledon doubles winner had to give up against US star Donald Young in the second round of the ATP tournament of Washington, D.C. due to a pulled muscle on Thursday. “This is not the start (into the hard court season) that I was hoping for,” Melzer, 30, said.